Bauer's Dolly goes mobile-first, ramps up video

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 18 April 2016

Bauer Media has today relaunched Dolly magazine with a new mobile-first strategy, after revealing in January the title would go from a monthly to a bi-monthly magazine.

In the biggest change in the publication's 46-year history, the new site has been designed as a mobile site for “today’s teen”, placing video at the heart of editorial strategy.

Video is central to the new digital strategy, Hearst-Bauer Media general manager Marina Go tells AdNews, with every piece of content for Dolly having a video component, produced in a purpose-built Dolly Studio.

Go says: “Dolly’s audience is a visual generation. We know that if we want people to share content and engage with the content, it has to be the information they want but also in the way they want it. Video is a reflection of the needs of the consumer.”

The reinvention comes as Dolly’s print viewership has faced a significant decline, with research showing 90% of Dolly’s 14-17 year old target audience engages with the title via their smartphones.

Teaming up with in-read native video advertising platform Teads, advertisers will have opportunity to access the millennial audience through visual content.

Advertisers such as Supre and Priceline are returning, but the revamped Dolly has also attracted new advertisers. Luxury brand Tiffany has been secured, a brand which Go says wouldn’t usually be associated with the title.

Go says the mobile-first approach is a “necessity for any business” including her brand portfolio which consists of Harper's Bazaar, Elle and Cosmopolitan, as consumer expectations and reading habits have changed.

“If you want to survive you have to adapt your model. There’s no doubt that after Dolly launches we will still be doing a lot of tweaking. We might not get it right the first time. But a digital focus is something I’m looking into across my whole portfolio,” Go says.

“I think all magazines need to look at how to reinvent themselves frankly. Especially magazines aiming to reach younger markets like Dolly. Cosmopolitan is another opportunity."

While the publication now has a digital-first approach, the reimagined magazine will still reflect the same Dolly ethos, acting as a guide-book to key issues such as relationships and self-confidence, which Go feels is still vital to young girls.

“Despite being accused of the opposite, magazines can be a place where girls develop self-confidence through education of relationships etc. Dolly Doctor has been hugely popular for years and will continue to be published digitally and in print.”

Go says moving forward, it will be her mission to bring on advertisers that dropped Dolly.

“Unfortunately entry levels products have fallen away for Dolly. I don’t know where that advertising has gone. But I’d like to try and get some of those advertisers back on board, especially cosmetics and fashion retailers. We still have the audience and they are their future customers.”

Go says she would like to attract “grown-up advertisers”, using L’Oréal and Unilever as examples, with Dolly taking a more mature approach to teenagers.

“Dolly’s point of difference is the new product is designed for a more grown up teenager. We know teenagers want to be older, and that’s how we are differentiating the title from its previous model. There’s nothing like that in the market.”

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